From: David Moss
Please note that this is an open communication and I shall publish it on my website and, subject to moderation, on Tony Collins's. I would also expect to publish any replies.
"The legacy is there. You could wish it wasn't but it works. To replace it would be a colossal waste of money and a colossal risk. When you have something that works, stick with it and build around it ...".
I take it that that is a general principle.
May I bring to your attention a legacy system at the Home Office's Identity & Passport Service.
It was agreed that their exsting passport application system should be replaced. That was some years ago, when the idea was to interface the system with the National Identity Register and when we were planning to add fingerprints to our ePassports from 2012 onwards. CSC were awarded a £385 million contract accordingly.
Now there is no NIR and there won't be any fingerprints. And yet the contract has not been cancelled.
I approached the Treasury, the NAO, IPS and others to suggest that we could save up to £385 million by cancelling the contract. On 3 November 2010, Alastair Bridges, an Executive Director at IPS, kindly replied, saying:
"In response to your query about CSC, the contract that has been signed will deliver a replacement for the current passport application system that is coming to the end of its useful life. The replacement system is required to ensure that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) can continue to issue passports".
If your principle applies, then surely the CSC contract should be cancelled, IPS should stick with the existing system, which isn't even very old, and build around it.
And in that case, perhaps you could intervene and instruct IPS to cancel the contract and save the taxpayer some money.
I look forward to your comment.